As the biggest country in Central America, Nicaragua borders Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south, and has a population of about 5.9 million. The country is also bordered by two major bodies of water – the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua, is inland, not far from the Port of Sandino.

The country is home to a number of shipping ports including the Port of San Juan del Sur and El Bluff Port, and one of the biggest ports in Nicaragua is the Port of Corinto. The Port of Corinto is important for the country’s import and export business and it is open all year and accessible via highway.

If you are shipping to Nicaragua, it is very important that you plan to be present in the country before your shipment arrives. There are a number of documents you’ll need when you ship to Nicaragua and you should have this taken care of in advance.

If you are interested in moving overseas to Nicaragua or are returning to the country after having been away for a while, note that household goods will likely be inspected by customs officers in Nicaragua. Also, many shipments are also subject to certain duty fees and taxes. An exception to this rule includes items intended specifically for school usage.

You are able to apply for tax exoneration when shipping to Nicaragua. If you are making a diplomatic shipment, you will need some specific documentation to apply for tax exoneration. Plan to have the following:

  1. Original tax exoneration documentation
  2. Passport

Diplomatic shipments are generally not subject to customs inspections in Nicaragua as long as there are reciprocal relations with the country that they represent.

When you ship by sea to Nicaragua, please make sure that any appliances and electronic devices are listed in detail on your packing list with brand, model and serial number provided. Hand written packing lists are not accepted. Your cargo shipping packing list should be written in either Spanish or English.

Are you a citizen returning to Nicaragua?

If you are returning to the country after having been away for an extended period of time, there is some documentation you should have in order in advance. Make sure to have the following paperwork before cargo shipping to Nicaragua:

  1. Migratory certification by Nicaraguan Consulate in country of residence
  2. Migratory certification from Migration Office in Nicaragua demonstrating length of stay outside the country
  3. Copy of Passport

Based on current legislation, household goods may qualify for tax exoneration only to returning citizens who have been away from the country for at least two years before they return. Shipments also may be inspected by customs officials in Nicaragua.

If you are not a citizen of Nicaragua but are entering the country with a work contract, you may be expected to pay duty fees and taxes on the items you may want to ship to the country.

You will also need some important documentation before shipping to Nicaragua. The following documents are required:

  • Copy of work contract for a minimum of 2 years
  • Copy of Nicaraguan Residence Identification
  • Copy of Passport, members of household inclusive (if applicable)
  • Letter of Request from contracting company addressed to the Customs Administration Office applying for the Tax Exoneration.

Restricted and Prohibited Items when Shipping to Nicaragua

When you ship cargo to Nicaragua, some items may be restricted. For example, there are restrictions on food items and vegetable and animal based products. There are also restrictions on a number of other goods including the following:

  • Medicines
  • Weapons
  • Gunpowder
  • Chemicals
  • Radio and telephone equipment
  • Pornography
  • Vehicles manufactured by Land Rover

Drugs and Toluene (glue) are strictly prohibited from shipment to Nicaragua.

Thinking about Retiring in Nicaragua?

If you want to retire in Nicaragua and you are not a citizen of the country, you can bring household goods and personal effects, along with a vehicle, without have to pay certain taxes. You will need to provide the following documentation:

  • Original tax exoneration issued by Nicaraguan Customs Authority
  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of Nicaragua Residence Identification

To apply for tax exoneration, the shipper must already have a Nicaraguan Residence Identification. Shipments may be inspected by customs officials in Nicaragua.

Vehicle Shipping to Nicaragua

If you are interested in shipping a vehicle to Nicaragua, please note that any automobiles manufactured before 1997 are strictly prohibited for import into Nicaragua.

In addition, there are some important documents required to ship a car overseas to Nicaragua.

Documents Required for vehicle shipping include the following (to be in the name of the individual importing the vehicle):

  1. Original Vehicle Property Title
  2. Registration Card
  3. Original purchase invoice or original sales contract for the vehicle

The customs office in Nicaragua requires a certification authenticated by the Nicaraguan Consulate in your country of origin. This rule applies for everyone including Foreign Diplomats.

All vehicles are subjected to payment of duties, except those belonging to Foreign Diplomats.

Bringing a Pet to Nicaragua?

If you want to bring a pet with you to Nicaragua, make sure you have a certified vaccine record. You will also need a certified veterinarian certificate from your country of origin. Finally, it is important to obtain an original permit from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Agriculture before bringing a pet to Nicaragua.

If you need international ocean shipping to Nicaragua or to some other country in Central America, South America or worldwide, an experienced ocean freight agency can assist you with all of the customs rules and regulations. This includes providing you with information about prohibited cargo, the customs process and required documentation.